Introduction to Snowdrift Cider Company
Before we begin, CiderScene would like to welcome out latest cider seeker, Katie Chandler-Roche! She wrote the below article and will be joining the team. Now, without further ado, an introduction to Snowdrift Cider!
The Snowdrift Cider Tasting
Put on your bow tie and tell your girl to get on her fancy shoes, because this cider deserves it. Had I known the level of complexity and deliciousness that I was about to experience, I would have hired a babysitter, rethought my Taco Tuesday ritual and opted for something a bit more extravagant for my tastebuds. Not that I am demeaning the exquisiteness that is a taco, but I would have pulled out my fancy French cookbook and attempted to pair this cider with something glorious, because that is what this cider warrants.
As I scanned the cider aisle at my local grocery store, I found myself drawn to Snowdrift Cider instantly. Why? Because I am girl and I like pretty things, and with its elegant label and bottle, this cider really stood out on the shelf. After examining the bottle further, I saw that they had included on the back label the bottle, batch, date and signature of the person who bottled this cider. Something that speaks to the handcrafted nature of the product. Lastly, I read that their cidery is located in Wenatchee, Washington, which is thirty minutes from where I grew up, in Leavenworth, Washington. This, of course, only furthered my intrigue. How had I never heard of them or seen them on the shelves sooner?
As I pondered this on my ride home and through the process of cooking dinner when I arrived home, I decided to give this cider a tasting. With the attention to details I’ve seen thus far, I needed an equally unique and tasteful glass to explore the full depth of the product. I decided on the glasses that my grandparents had given to me some time ago. I am pretty sure they are old red wine goblets but, regardless, I decided it would be the necessary tool.
As I unwound the hand-wound muselet and released the cork, a tart, berry-tinged apple aroma filled the air and aroused my senses. I walked over to the kitchen bar where my glass was and slowly poured, letting the light crimson liquid trickle into the space.
You know the scene in the film Mary Poppins where Mary gives Jane & Michael their medicine after they had been caught in the rain? The surprise on their faces and in their voices when they are poured two different colored and flavored medicines? That was me 100%! I was stupefied at the beautiful coral, pink and light crimson color now in the glass. Upon my first sip, I turned to my significant other who had walked into the room and had taken his first sip, and our eyes locked. He cocked his head to the side with an equally giddy look and mouthed “wow .” This was possibly the most wonderful cider that we had ever tasted. It was everything that I would hope to find in a cider: a perfect balance of sweet, dry and tart, and smooth on the palate. Initial tartness blended into hints of berry, with a soft, sweet finish. I wish I could say that this cider lasted until after dinner, but it did not. As it turned out, I had make this Taco Tuesday much spicier than usual, and this delightful cider perfectly balanced out my meal.
The Snowdrift Cider Company Interview
In tasting and thoroughly enjoying this cider, I reached out to the company to learn more. In little time I spoke with, Tim Larsen, the owner of Snowdrift Cider, and asked the jarring question, “Why is this one of the best ciders that I have ever tasted?”
He laughed and said that he could give me several different reasons, but he thought it was the red-fleshed apples. He inquired if I had ever tried or heard of a red fleshed apple. I stuttered, said no, and instantly felt like this was a pop quiz that I had failed, but Tim politely took this moment to educate me on these apples. He explained the red- fleshed apples he uses are from a third generation of wild forest apple from Kazakhstan. They were brought into the U.S. to see if they would be suitable for the fresh apple industry, but they proved to be soft, russeted and acidic – all big negatives for the apple industry. The grower who imported them contacted me to see if we could find a use for them, which we did. We discovered they were fabulous for cider making. They love this apple because of the hints of cranberry, watermelon and flowers that it brings.
These red-fleshed apples are some of the 35 different varieties that he has in his orchard, along with another eight varieties of pear that he uses for his pear ciders.
I mentioned to him the astonishment I experienced when I saw the color, and I gave him my Mary Poppins’ example. He, again, chuckled, and informed me that because of the color they made the decision to release the cider in a clear bottle so that the cider’s beauty can truly be seen. I, without reproach, gave him my approval- which he obviously didn’t need or ask for- but he, in good spirit, gave me his thanks and gratitude.
My conversation with Tim went on to include the history of Snowdrift Cider Company and how it came to be, why he uses the apples that he uses, the apples’ unique qualities and Snowdrift Cider’s plan for growth in the future. If you love a good romance novel then their story will be one for you. Stay tuned for my visit to their cidery where I will delve deeper into their story and learn how Tim and his wife made their dream a reality, bringing their passion for cider back to their roots.